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Remember the famous Shakespearean line from Hamlet? “To fence, or not to fence: that is the question.” Or something close to that. Why do homeowners want fences? Is it to keep people out or in?

A couple of homes ago, I had a fenced backyard as did my next door neighbor. Our yards were separated by a chain link fence. My yard had the kid-coveted swings and slide. My neighbors’ had the adult-coveted hammock. And I did like our neighbors, which made this possible. We put up a gate within the chain link fence. Suddenly, everyone had twice the space. Sadly, when I moved, our home buyers didn’t think that double back yard solution was a cool thing, as we all did.

Fences are a very personal thing. Of course, fences work wonders containing kids, dogs and shrubbery. And, oddly enough, they work equally as well keeping out kids, dogs and neighbors.

Every once in a while, while looking at homes with buyers, we’ll stumble upon a wide-open backyard space. Typically, 6-8 of the neighbors have opted not to fence. And the wide-open space always gives the buyers pause. Most often, the buyers like the openness. And if the buyers have kids, the kids are all over it! And usually, in these situations, you’ll find the neighbors know each other, and like each other, so no need to keep anyone out.

Fences are very useful in defining space. A property can look much bigger when framed with a fence. And a yard can be less scary, too. This is especially true when a property borders on a busy street. Yet, once the space is defined, confusion can come. Fence Etiquette (Check Emily Post). Who maintains the other side of the fence? If your fence is on a property line, are you supposed to go onto your neighbor’s property and weed-wack? And the Holy Grail of fences: the coveted Double Fence. Within the fenced yard is another fenced yard.

Says Robert Frost in his famous poem, “Mending Wall” … "Good fences make good neighbors."

Buying or Selling? We’d love to help. Contact us at or 402-261-0470.

Katie Pocras, MBA, Associate Broker

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